What’s the Story?

Writing about writing, the last resort of the desperately
blocked writer.
–Oh Yes, I Just Quoted Myself

No help from Elfman this time.

I’m trying to pick a topic, a theme, for a blog post, and failing miserably. Of all the things that happen, what’s to be a story and what’s to float by unacknowledged? What’s my “about” today?

I could write about Friday, a glorious evening in which, thanks to an early morning hockey engagement, I’d given myself permission to accomplish nothing—just a six-hour wander from couch to porch to couch again, playing Wii, watching TV, reading. A familiar story about the glories of the little things.

I could also write about how, and not for the first time, I spent parts of the weekend listening to Randy Newman’s “God’s Song” on a loop, savoring the bluesy melody and spiritually sadistic, hopeless lyrics. That’s an analysis of art, lyrics and music—not my strong suit, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past.

I could yet again revisit the satisfaction of a hockey day like Saturday, with the fun of the sport and the even-more-fun of the social time. But I’ve told that story a lot, and while the experience doesn’t get old, the topic has, and I should probably leave it alone until I find something new to say about it.

I could write about the beauty of a cold, sunshiny day at the polo match Sunday—or about how such a beautiful day got its pall from a horse dying on the field. A weighty story, to be sure, but not one I want to linger on.

I could write about the random phone call I got at work just now regarding a former associate’s upcoming court date for all manner of craziness. Like, “guns and death threats and handcuffs” kind of craziness. But I’m not sure I can tell that story anonymously enough, and I don’t want to be interfering in current court proceedings (or implicated in future ones).

beer face

Nothing new to write about, but folks like Lefty and Progeny always help make for fun after-hockey times.

I could write about how dealing with writing all day makes you overanalyze other people’s casual words in ways they themselves couldn’t possibly have intended. Literary interpretation is a poor substitute for social skills. That’s a story of self-discovery.

I could write about motherfucking meteorites. I could write about what I’m going to have for dinner.

This is the kind of thinking editor-types and others have to do at work all the time (except at work I’m not allowed to do a cheap cop-out like this). It gets to be a habit, scooping stories out of thin air. Not just the topic itself, but the scope and mood of it. This is what I get all John Nash neuroses-as-schizophrenia from: What details do you pick out from the slice-of-life, stream-of-consciousness chaos of your daily experiences that can be assembled into an orderly description of circumstances united by a theme?

A lot of times, stuff jumps out at you. Sometimes, you have to look into more philosophical matters. Or there’s times like today, where I’m sure I’ve come across a story or two that are suitable, but my radar’s down; everything’s going by at the same volume.


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